Gameday Dish

Miami Heat v New York KnicksAfter 35 games the 14-21 Brooklyn Nets are currently slotted in the 8th spot in the tortuous Eastern Conference.

While this record may not seem playoff-worthy, it looks a lot better after a season-high, four-game winning streak, which coach Jason Kidd’s guys hope to extend tonight at home against the 27-9 Miami Heat.

LeBron and company played the other New York City league affiliate last night in Manhattan. Surprisingly they came out on the losing side to the 13-22 Knicks by a score of 102-92.

The Heat were without PG Mario Chalmers, who missed the last two games with a right Achilles strain. League MVP James led his team with 32 points, and Wade chipped in 23.

Both sides shot around 54% from the field. However, NY pounded the Heat on the offensive glass, which led to 14 more field goal attempts. Miami’s 52.4% shooting from the charity stripe was also a factor, and Flash was chippy after the 48 when asked about his 0-6 free throw struggles.

Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty ImagesBrooklyn kicked off their recent win streak with their best coup of the season on January 2nd at OKC.

The Nets have since dispatched Cleveland, Atlanta and Golden State at Barclays. In fact, in their impressive take-down of the Warriors on Wednesday night, the Nets ended the Dubs’ 10-game winning streak.

Playing without C Brook Lopez and PG Deron Williams, Brooklyn’s 102-98 victory was helped by having five players in double figures, led by Joe Johnson’s 27. In addition, C Andray Blatche contributed 17 points off the bench.

Tonight’s game will be the second of four meetings between these squads this season. The first, also in the borough, was on November 1st. That night the Nets prevailed 101-100 with both Lopez and Williams in the lineup. Coach Kidd relied on 11 players’ contributions in the true team win.

Tune in to tonight’s “nickname game” on YES at 8PM ET to see if Brooklyn can continue their winning ways against the scary, 2X defending NBA Champs.

Gameday Dish

Portland Trailblazers v Oklahoma City ThunderThe Brooklyn Nets and Oklahoma City Thunder have both played in 31 contests so far this season. Both sides recently lost one of their two best starters to injuries. And both squads lost to their opponents on Tuesday. However, their similarities end there.

Coach Scott Brooks’ guys lead the Western Conference at 25-6 and possess a home record of 14-2. Coach Jason Kidd’s team sits at 9-21, which is good for the second worst mark in the 30-team league.

Tonight the Nets will wrap up a 3-game road swing that has pitted them against the top 3 records in the NBA. On Saturday the Nets fell to Indiana 105-91 after trailing by just 2 at the half.

On Tuesday, they were manhandled 113-92 in San Antonio. Starting big man Kevin Garnett had 2 points and zero FGs. It was only the second time in KG’s 19-year career that he failed to score from the field.

Brooklyn’s lone win in their past seven games was at home against the sole team in the league looking up at them, the Milwaukee Bucks. In all the major team categories, the Nets rank in the 20’s. They must make a shift, whether it be mental, physical or via trade, to help get back on their predicted track and salvage this season.

Brooklyn Nets v San Antonio Spurs

A good start tonight would be pounding, hounding and surrounding the glass at both ends, as they rank 28th in team rebounding while the Thunder occupy the top spot in boarding.

In addition, with All-Everything PG Russell Westbrook on the shelf for a while, tonight would be a great time for PG Deron Williams and SG Joe Johnson to flash their multiple All-Star credentials and put the pressure on the Thunder’s depleted backcourt.

Are some of Brooklyn’s players past their primes? Yes. Is the Brook Lopez injury devastating to this season’s current outlook? Yes. Were the Nets touted as an Eastern Conference heavyweight too soon after forming their newest nucleus? Yes.

But with 49 regular season games remaining, Brooklyn still has time to flip their fortune and grab one of the weak East’s top 8 spots. A Brooklyn victory this evening would reignite their campaign and stand out as the best W of the season for the Nets.

Tune in to the YES Network at 8PM ET to see if the Nets can bounce back and stop the Durant-led Thunder storm.

Czar’s Midseason Review

WEB-Midseason-All-Star-28JAN2013

Gameday Dish: Nets vs. Wizards

The 17-15 Brooklyn Nets come to the nation’s capital tonight to take on the Washington Wizards. The Nets have gone 3-1 since P.J. Carlesimo was elevated to interim head coach last week.

After getting shellacked in San Antonio 104-73 on New Year’s Eve, the Brooklyn boys turned it around 48 hours later in Oklahoma City. The Nets ended the Thunder’s 12-game home winning streak 110-93 and earned their most impressive W of the season.

First-year Net Joe Johnson went 5 of 10 from 3-point land and scored a season-high 33 points. PG Deron Williams added 19 points, 13 dimes and 5 steals in the victory after having his least productive game of the season (8 points and 1 assist) in the loss to the Spurs.

The Wizards have the worst record in the NBA at 4-26. They’ve dropped 11 of their last 12 contests including an 89-81 loss at Indiana on Wednesday.

Starters Martell Webster and Garrett Temple combined for zero points. Jordan Crawford, a third-year SG from Xavier, led Washington with 20 points, 7 dimes and 2 steals off the bench.

- Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty ImagesUnfortunately the Wizards’ woes will continue after tonight’s 48 as they’ll have to face Miami and OKC without point guard John Wall, who will likely be out of commission for another 1-2 weeks.

This evening’s competition will be the first of four matchups between these two Eastern Conference foes, who had much more in common last season when they finished the regular season just two games apart.

In addition, tonight’s game will mark Andray Blatche’s first return to Washington since joining the Nets. The 26-year-old veteran spent his first seven seasons with the Wiz before he was waived via the amnesty clause this summer.

6’11” Blatche, who shot a career-worst 38% from the field last season and missed more than half of the games, was at times booed mercilessly by the frustrated Wizards fanbase. This year Blatche appears renewed by by the opportunity to compete on a winning squad and is shooting 49% while averaging 10.9 ppg and 5.8 rpg

Tune in to YES tonight at 7:00 PM ET to see if Brooklyn can build on their recent success and get some momentum going in the new year.

Gameday Dish: Celtics vs. Nets

The five-time defending Atlantic Division Champion Boston Celtics come to Brooklyn tonight to take on the Nets in the first regular season game between these two franchises.

Coach Doc Rivers’ guys beat the Utah Jazz in Boston last night, 98-93, taking their record to 5-3. PG Rajon Rondo left the contest in the third quarter with a right ankle injury and is listed as day-to-day.

Rondo still managed to dish 10 dimes in his 32nd straight game with at least 10 or more assists, and he currently leads the NBA with 12.5 apg.

First-year Celtic and 2007 6th Man of The Year combo-guard Leandro Barbosa stepped in for Rondo and scored 16 points in the victory. Both the Celts’ and Nets’ coaching staffs are still trying to figure out their starting units and how to use the bench players in their rotations.

Boston has a deep, veteran roster including Jeff Green, who’s back from heart surgery and added 16 points in Wednesday’s win. Bench play will have a significant impact on tonight’s results as well.

The 4-2 Brooklyn squad last played on Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They prevailed 114-101 with Joe Johnson and Deron Williams both scoring season highs of 25 and 26 respectively. First-year Net Johnson had his best game yet of the early season and will continue to improve as he adjusts to his new teammates, especially D-Will.

The C’s beat the Nets in all three matchups last season and have won 18 of the last 20 games. However, this Brooklyn incarnation is very different than the 2011-2012 NJ version.

Fifth-year center Brook Lopez is healthy, and he’s averaging 17.5 ppg and 2.3 bpg so far after missing 61 of 66 games last year due to various injuries. Unfortunately, do-everything forward Gerald Wallace will miss his sixth straight game due to a sprained left ankle.

Though it’s early in the season, tonight’s matchup could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals. Join me, Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Craig Sager at 8PM ET on TNT to watch two top teams in the East ignite what is sure to be a long rivalry between these division foes.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.